Malta chance for Sheffield United players to make a mark

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DANNY Wilson has told his players their performances during pre-season will exert huge influence over team selection for next month’s League One opener at Oldham Athletic.

Sheffield United travelled to Malta yesterday as preparations for August 6’s match at Boundary Park continue to gather pace following two friendlies against local opposition, Sheffield FC and Worksop Town, in the last week.

Wilson, who took charge of the South Yorkshire club following its relegation from the Championship last term, said: “I’m sure all of the lads who were here when we went down, whether they did well on an individual basis or not, will feel as if they’ve got a point to prove.

“That’s the mindset I want them to have because it should stand them in good stead for the future.

“Equally, there’s no such thing as a fringe player in my eyes.

“I want everyone to feel as if they’re a part of what we are trying to achieve.

“And, in my experience, there is always someone who comes through at this stage and stakes a real claim for a place. It’s usually the case that someone comes out of nowhere, so to speak, and puts themselves right into contention by playing and training really well.”

United face Sliema Wanderers and Hibernians before returning to England on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Zander Diamond, Oldham’s latest new signing, has spoken of his “delight” at joining Paul Dickov’s side.

The former Aberdeen striker said: “This is a fresh challenge and if you look at the teams in the division it is a very competitive competition.I can’t wait to get started or for the first day of the season to come around.”